The Maitland Mercury

Settling into your studies: A guide for new students

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Picture by Shutterstock

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Embarking on a new chapter from high school to university can be exciting yet challenging for many, as it involves embracing independence, responsibility, and social life.

Not everyone makes the most of their studies, some just come for the grade, but so much more can be gained if we make some adjustments.

Whether you're studying the Graduate Certificate in Business Administration, Bachelor of Arts or Vocational Education, this guide will help you give you tips to get the most out of your higher education experience.

Adjusting to the new environment

The first principle of university life is recognising that you're on a new playing field, that things need to change, and that you must adapt.

Changing your structure and fitting into the new environment is essential for success. Here are some ways to help you adjust.

Finding your routine

Consistency is crucial. Establish a weekly routine, setting aside time for classes, study sessions, and relaxation. Tailor your schedule to fit your preferences, whether you prefer studying in the morning or at night.

It's essential to maintain consistency to cultivate a routine; adhere to your timetable on weekends and holidays.

Time management

Managing your time well is essential when dealing with university life, which comes with many responsibilities. Creating task lists can help organise your day and make big projects feel less overwhelming by dividing them into parts.

One thing to remember is to avoid procrastination and stay focused instead of getting distracted by social activities or entertainment, as this can determine whether you succeed or fail in university.

Utilising technology

Embrace the advantages of technology by utilising smartphone apps and calendar software to help you create and stick to your schedule.

Many colleges and universities offer tools to assist students in managing their time. These resources may consist of calendars, study schedules, and productivity aids. With AI recently taking the scene, it's also wise to look at what kinds of productivity aids you can use in your daily life.

Picture by Shutterstock
Picture by Shutterstock

Exploring the academic world

The university experience differs from high school and requires you to develop distinct and more independent skills to enhance your academic performance.

Here are some suggestions and abilities you should focus on as you move to university or college.

Effective note-taking

Being great at taking notes is imperative as you're going to be experiencing more lectures and doing self-study.

Things are not laid out for you, and you will need to figure out the best way to retain information, depending on your style. This could be mind mapping, writing notes on paper by hand, or even recording and then writing notes electronically.

Make sure you review notes for retention, and even summarising can be a great tool.

Efficient studying

Studying plays a role in achieving success. Find a study environment that works for you in the library or at home. Avoid last-minute cramming.

Prioritise studying over activities during exam periods. It may also be beneficial to vary your study techniques using flashcards or creating study aids.

All of these things add up, and sooner or later, you'll be honed in on learning and picking up new concepts faster than ever before.

Tailoring your learning style

Do you learn best visually auditorily or, through hands-on experiences? Knowing this will enable you to adapt your study methods to align with your natural learning tendencies.

Visual learners might utilise diagrams and charts to grasp information effectively or if you lean towards auditory learning consider recording lectures. If you're inclined towards tactile learning engage in hands-on activities to solidify your understanding.

Personalising your student experience

The most alluring part of higher education is the opportunity to immerse yourself in social interactions and extracurricular activities.

They can help you network with others, support your studies and foster skills beyond the academic world.

Get involved in clubs and societies

Universities offer a range of clubs and organisations spanning societies, sports teams and cultural groups. Joining them can help you forge connections cultivate skills beyond the classroom and explore interests.

Embrace opportunities to step out of your comfort zone and try something new because you never know where it can lead in the future.

Take advantage of support systems

There are also a plethora of resources available for students who are attending higher education, while so much is self-reliant you'd be surprised by the help you can get if you reach out.

Universities provide an array of services like, tutoring, writing centers, counselling and career guidance. Get some assistance now while you can as opposed to waiting till you're facing challenges.

Nurturing connections

Establishing relationships, with professors and peers can open doors to mentorship opportunities and valuable educational experiences.

Make sure to connect with your peers both, inside and outside of class join in on conversations and make it a point to attend office hours. Building these relationships can open up doors for networking opportunities, such as internships or job prospects post-graduation.

The importance of healthy lifestyle and study

Maintaining a lifestyle while on campus involves taking care of your mental well-being in a comprehensive manner.

While some may overlook this aspect, being in the state of mind is crucial for success and personal growth. Let's explore some ways to stay healthy as students.

It all begins with nutrition, opt for meals from the dining hall and snack on fruits and veggies of processed foods.

Regular physical activity, whether it's through campus fitness classes, joining sports teams or simply walking to classes, helps keep both body and mind active. Getting sleep is essential, too, as it impacts focus, mood, health and stress management, especially during busy periods.

By incorporating these practices into life students can lay down a foundation for a healthy lifestyle that enhances their academic performance and personal development. The positive impact of these changes, on performance can be significant; so don't underestimate the power of making these adjustments.

Final summary

In conclusion, your time at university will be filled with both challenges and opportunities. It's a period where you can learn not from textbooks but from the people you meet and the experiences you have, so ensure you're maximising the experience from all angles.

Always remember that you are shaping the storyline of your career, so make it memorable and, most importantly, enjoyable.